- Full name Geovany Soto
- Born 01/20/1983 in San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School American Military Academy
- Debut 09/23/2005
- Drafted in the 11th round (318th overall) by the Chicago Cubs in 2001.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Soto had done little to distinguish himself in the first two years after the Cubs put him on their 40-man roster, but he exploded in 2007. He led the minors in batting average by a catcher (.353) and overall slugging percentage (.652), and won the Triple-A Pacific Coast League MVP award. Chicago's minor league player of the year, he upped his production after a September callup. The key for Soto was losing 30 pounds after spring training started, allowing him to maintain his bat speed and get to inside fastballs better than he had in the past. He also showed a knack for driving outside pitches the other way, and while his 2007 numbers may be a bit crazy, he has the ability to annually hit .275 with 20 homers in the majors. He provides good defense as well, with a strong arm, good receiving skills and improved agility behind the plate. Now that he has seen what it can do for him, Soto must remain in top shape. He's a below-average runner, but not bad for a catcher. Soto has raised his ceiling from likely backup to potential all-star. He'll be the Cubs' regular catcher in 2008 and eventually should become their best all-around catcher since Jody Davis two decades ago.
Soto got the chance to make an impression early in the Cactus League season. With the Cubs' two big league catcher, Michael Barrett and Henry Blanco, off at the World Baseball Classic, Soto got into the lineup and hit .333. When the regular season started, he returned to Triple-A and replicated his 2005 performance there. Despite lacking a standout tool, he might be the most well-rounded of the system's catching prospects. He has enough bathandling ability and strength to project as a .260 hitter with double-digit homers if he played regularly in the majors. He shows patience at the plate and draws his share of walks. He's a below-average runner but agile for a catcher. Soto's arm is his best tool, though he threw out just 29 percent of basestealers in Triple-A last year. He's a solid receiver and blocks balls well. Soto profiles more as a backup than as a regular, but he doesn't have much of an opportunity in Chicago after Blanco re-signed for two years and $5.25 million in that role. Soto looks destined for a third straight season in Iowa.
Since drafting Joe Girardi and Rick Wilkins in 1986, the Cubs haven't had much luck developing catchers. Soto is their best hope to end that drought, playing in Triple-A at age 22 last year and making his major league debut in September. A cousin of former Cubs infielder Ramon Martinez, Soto doesn't have a standout tool but he doesn't have any glaring weaknesses either. While he was inconsistent at the plate against older Pacific Coast League pitchers, Soto showed good patience. He handles the bat well enough to hit for a decent average, and he has enough strength and loft in his swing to reach double digits in homers on an annual basis. He doesn't run well, like most catchers, but he's agile and blocks balls well. Soto's arm strength is probably his best tool. He's still learning how to handle veteran pitches and to call a game, but that's to be expected. He has spent just three years as a full-time catcher after dabbling at the infield corners in his first two pro seasons. He'll repeat Triple-A in 2006 to soak up some more experience.
The Cubs have tried in vain to develop a catcher for more than decade, as prospects such as Pat Cline, Mike Hubbard, Brad Ramsey and Matt Walbeck teased them before dashing their hopes. Soto became the leading candidate to end that drought in Double-A at age 21. A cousin of former Cubs infielder Ramon Martinez, Soto was a corner infielder in high school and spent his first two years as a pro between catcher and first base. His body was soft when he first turned pro, but he lost 30 pounds to better deal with the rigors of catching. Soto offers potential both offensively and defensively. He shows bat-handling ability and has a little loft in his swing, and he could hit for a decent average with 10-15 homers annually. The best defensive catcher in the system, Soto has good receiving skills and handles pitchers well. At times he shows an above-average arm, though it's inconsistent. He doesn't run well but moves fine behind the plate. Soto has responded to being pushed aggressively, and Chicago will challenge him by sending him to Triple-A at age 22.
Minor League Top Prospects
Soto made the most of his third consecutive season in Iowa. After batting .263/.355/.366 in 634 prior PCL at-bats, he exploded to hit .353/.424/.652 with 26 home runs to win the league's MVP award. He led the PCL in RBIs (109) and the minors in slugging percentage, though he lost the batting title by a single point when he and eventual winner Brian Myrow were both called to the majors with three games left in the season. Soto was chunky in the past, but he has dropped 30 pounds since spring training and now carries 200 pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame. With less weight, he had added agility behind the plate and was able to maintain his bat speed throughout the season. His power took a huge step forward, and he showed the ability to punish inside fastballs and drive outside pitches to the opposite field. Though he played 22 games at first base to increase his versatility, Soto should be Chicago's regular catcher in 2008. He started two of the Cubs' three playoff games and is a good defender behind the plate. He blocks and receives the ball well, and he used his strong arm to nab 31 percent of basestealers in 2007. Experience also has made him a better game-caller and leader.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Chicago Cubs in 2006
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Chicago Cubs in 2005